Interior prepares for “high-flow” release at 1,312-MW Glen Canyon hydroelectric plant

 PAGE, Ariz. — The U.S. Department of the Interior will begin a “high-flow experimental release” at Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam on Monday, Nov. 19, has learned.

The release is part of a new long-term protocol announced in May by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the first such release from the 1,312-MW Glen Canyon hydropower project since 2008.

Interior says the program will help meet water and power needs, as well as allowing for the better conservation of sediment downstream; more targeted efforts to control non-native fish predation; and continued scientific experimentation, data collection and monitoring of the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam.

Other high-flow releases will be conducted at other Bureau of Reclamation-owned dams through 2020, as per a 16-year study that extends back to 1996. Interior says the depth of the study will allow high-flow releases to be made without extensive environmental review or planning, so long as certain conditions are present for such an action.

In Glen Canyon’s case, Interior says “scientists have determined that the right conditions exist” based on “sediment deposited by Colorado River tributaries as a result of recent rainstorms and monsoons.”

The Glen Canyon Dam high-flow release will last nearly five days and will reach about 42,300 cubic feet per second, consisting of 27,300 cfs through the Glen Canyon hydropower plant and a bypass release of 15,000 cfs through four outlet tubes.                                                                        

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